One Of Sylvester Stallone’s All-Time Terrible Movies Is Dominating On Streaming

We just never managed to escape this horrible movie.

By Michileen Martin | Published

sylvester stallone

What do you do when you get together two of the biggest action stars Hollywood has ever seen — Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger — along with one of the biggest rappers in the world and a long list of top-tier Hollywood talent, and yet you still only manage to do not too bad in ticket sales? Well, you make a second one of course in spite of no longer having Schwarzenegger in the cast. At least, that’s what happened with no one’s favorite Sylvester Stallone franchise: Escape Plan. Yet in spite of all that, 2018’s Escape Plan 2: Hades is currently kicking serious butt on the streaming charts, landing in the top 5 streamed movies on HBO, sandwiched between the 15-minute short The Gift and the 2018 superhero blockbuster Aquaman.

sylvester stallone escape plan 2 hades
Dave Bautista, Sylvester Stallone, and Jesse Metcalfe in Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

In 2013’s Escape Plan, Sylvester Stallone originated the role of Ray Breslin — the co-owner of a firm who tests the security in supermax prisons. Against his better judgment, Breslin agrees to test the security in a prison without knowing the location beforehand, but upon arrival finds the warden he made the deal with and the warden overseeing the prison aren’t the same person. In the sequel, Breslin finds himself up against a former protege. Early in Escape Plan 2: Hades, Breslin fires Jaspar Kimbral (Wes Chatham) when his error causes an innocent’s death, and the same spurned employee turns up as the warden of the prison Hades. Returning from the first film along with Stallone are 50 Cent (Power) and Lydia Hull (Van Wilder). Newcomers to the fold include Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Xiaoming Huang (The Message), and Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives).

Unlike its predecessor, Escape Plan 2 went the direct-to-video route. It did enjoy a limited theatrical run outside the U.S., bringing in around $17.6 million. While the first movie enjoyed big names like Schwarzenegger, Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Vinnie Jones (Snatch), Vincent D’Onofrio (Men in Black), and Jim Caviezel (The Thin Red Line) — and it was largely the trusted names that helped Escape Plan get any traction at all — its sequel’s star power was relatively meager.

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Sylvester Stallone in Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018)

Most critics seemed to agree what little was good about Escape Plan was carried by the nostalgia of having Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in major roles in the same film. With that nostalgia-driven team up gone, the critics’ ranking between movies went from a 50% for Escape Plan to a cringeworthy 8% for Escape Plan 2: Hades. Reviewers thought the sequel was predictable, boring, and incomprehensible. This, of course, did not stop Stallone, Bautista, 50 Cent and more to return for the following year’s Escape Plan: The Extractors.

So why is Escape Plan 2: Hades burning up the HBO streaming charts? Well, in part it could be the unexpected novelty of an action old-timer like Sylvester Stallone teamed up with a relative newcomer like Dave Bautista. Once known primarily for the pro-wrestling world, Bautista’s time as Drax of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has significantly boosted his bankability. And considering Escape Plan 2 was never in theaters in North America, there’s a good chance plenty of fans find it an intriguing surprise that Bautista and Stallone were in a movie together (beside Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 — in which their characters are never even in the same room).

Sylvester Stallone has more coming down the pipe, including more movies that are hoping to tap into nostalgia. For one, Stallone will once more be returning as Barney Ross for the action star clown car The Expendables 4. There are also rumblings he will once more be working with James Gunn to reprise the role of Stakar Ogord for Guardians of of the Galaxy Vol 3. And while there’s no firm word yet, considering how popular the character was and that he was one of the few to survive 2021’s The Suicide Squad, we certainly hope to once again hear Stallone voice Task Force X’s King Shark.

Of course if you couldn’t care less what critics or anyone else has to say and you want to check out Escape Plan 2: Hades for yourself, it’s currently streaming on HBO. The film was directed by Steven C. Miller (Marauders) and written by Miles Chapman (Road House 2: Last Call).